The Noble Pen for Jan 26, 2017

Next Noble Pen Meeting

January 26th, 2017 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


The Science Fiction News has been updated for spring.


Randy has blurb for his book.

Stacy got a personalized rejection letter.

Dylan revised his last commission and improved his Author Intrusion program.

Cassie added 2,000 words to a novel and wrote almost that much on a new contemporary story.


A story needs enough plot that the reader doesn’t have it all figured out right away. Here are some ideas about plot.  Chuck Wendig offers a lot more ways to plot (foul language warning).  Some people plan meticulously.  The snowflake method is one planning tool, where you make a very short summary, and revise on successive passes to add finer and finer detail like the branches on a snowflake.  Others recommend just letting the creativity flow and seeing where it ends up.

Scholars have analyzed plot in an abstract sense.  What I took away was that frequent alternations of positive and negative events and descriptions make for a page-turner.

Action and fight scenes are an important part of many stories.  But don’t mistake action for plot.   Perhaps plot may be defined as the events that happen to the characters, but a good plot needs more, with motivations, choices (and more on choices), failures, and change in the characters making important contributions to the story.  It is usually more interesting if the character’s goal is more than simply surviving to arrive somewhere.  The characters need to make and deal with consequences and sometimes failures.

Make the battle(s) important to the plot, with high stakes, and not just the script of a video game with one unrelated fight after another.   Can you make the hero’s fate in doubt or does the reader know he will emerge unscathed?

Robert Wood tells how he approaches action scenes.  Fonda Lee gives some good advice.  Linda Adams gives her take on it.

But all good things in moderation; this article says you could have too much plot.

Upcoming Schedule

Jan 26
Aime W.

February 2

February 9

February 16
Open slots

February 23
Open slots

Keep Writing,